Swedish company sues Heritage bank over N156m letter of credit

 In a bid to seek redress in a breach of contract business, a Swedish company FSA FORTEX AB has dragged Heritage bank Plc before a Federal high court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria, claiming the sum of N156,232,011.   Joined as co-defendant in the ensuing legal hostility is a Nigerian company OFOLIX INTERNATIONAL LIMITED.

     According to  a statement of claim accompanied by witness statement on oath of Executive Director of the Swedish company Mr. Jorgen Ohlander, filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister Victor Ibharalu, the deponent alleged that his company manufactured and supplied its products dual purpose writing/printing papers to Ofolix International limited in Nigeria. 

     Before the dual papers were supplied to the company, the company provided three separate letters of credits which were opened with Heritage bank Plc. 

    Mr. Ohlander averred further that the said letter of credit opened by the Nigerian company were meant to be solely financed by the company for the purpose of the Swedish company’s products. 

      Over the years and following several meetings with the defendants, Ofolix made some payments separately and at different times on the letter of credit but for reasons unknown to the plaintiff Heritage bank has refused to fully meet its obligations owed the Swedish company. 

     Meanwhile, as time went on, the Nigerian company equally made some direct cash remittances to the Swedish company leaving an outstanding sum of N156,232,011.which has remained unpaid till date, despite the fact that, in a letter written to the Nigerian company by Heritage bank, the bank acknowledged the full discharge of the Nigerian company obligations under the said letter of credit.

      The Swedish Director alleged further that his company  has made several demands and entreaties on Heritage bank to fulfill its own obligations owed to it but the  bank has refused and neglected to do so till date. 

      After endless waiting and obvious frustration, his company instructed his solicitors V. E. Ibharalu and company to demand and received the said outstanding sum  of N156,232,011 on the letter of credit.   The plaintiff’ Solicitors wrote a letter to Heritage bank to demand and receive the said outstanding sum which the bank refused and neglected to response to till date. 

     Mr. Ohlander states that the defendants are possibly exploiting the plaintiff ‘s helpless position in the matter since both the goods and the money are in the possession of the defendants.  The plaintiff therefore claims against the defendants jointly and severally as follows :  The sum of N156,232,011 being the outstanding balance on the letters of credit     Interest on the said sum at the rate of 21% per annum until final determination of the suit and thereafter at  6% per annum until the final liquidation of the debt.

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